In a week, a batch of local high school seniors will walk across the stage to accept diplomas and move on with their lives. What they will find on the other side, though, is scary.
We hope our presidential candidates keep Bill Clinton's campaign message in mind: "It's the economy, stupid."
Long after the economy tanked under President George W. Bush, and continued to sink under President Barack Obama, we're seeing some progress, but not much, on the job front. The economy can't seem to get moving at a sufficient rate and that doesn't bode well for anyone, especially our young people venturing out into the professional world.
Many new high school students either face crippling college loan debt with a questionable job outlook, or not going to college or technical school and facing even longer odds of finding employment that will provide them a decent quality of life.
Our politicians — from every party — need to stop the foolishness and address the needs of the people. Anyone who tries to blame another party for what's been going wrong is simply misguided.
The problem is that no one is working to do what's best for all Americans, not just certain groups who pump money into their campaigns. Sooner or later, the backlash will hit and hit hard.
Our graduates deserve a shot at the American dream, just like we had, and our parents and their parents had. It's too often not there for our young people these days.
Sure, times change and so do job opportunities, but what we're seeing now are outsourced jobs or entry level, low paying jobs that can't sustain families.
On a positive note, however, we believe better times will come again. We're going through a long, painful economic downturn and everyone warned at the beginning it would take years to pull back out. That's certainly been true, and signs are slightly better these days compared to just a year or so ago.
The problem, though, is that political opportunists use every example they can find to kill promising opportunities that don't benefit them in some way. While in an economic slump, too many of us just let them do it because we are desperate for someone to lead us out of this mess.
Our graduates now will enter college or the job market, if they can, and try to work through it. It's our responsibility to help them be successful if they work hard for it.
Politicians need to quit spending all their time bickering over silly social issues that do nothing to get people back to work. They would rather whip the public into a frenzy over issues that don't actually impact our lives and ignore the issues that make a real difference.
Until this happens, the outlook will continue to be bleak.