As a fellow millennial, however, I don’t look at Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign with rose-tinted glasses. His policies have been tried elsewhere, and they failed. To tackle his country’s dismal youth unemployment rate, Francois Hollande, for example, started a youth job initiative to subsidize employers in order to hire and train young people between 18-25. The program has not relieved France’s youth jobless rate, however. When Hollande started this $3.7 billion (3.5 Billion Euro) initiative to provide up to 75% of young workers’ salaries, France’s youth unemployment rate was around 25%. Two years later, things have not changed much, as illustrated below.
Instead of tackling the root cause of the problem, Bernie Sanders’s proposals will simply paper over it. For instance, youth unemployment rate in Urban America is quite high due to regulations such as minimum wage laws and occupational licensing, which discourage employers from hiring young people on a market rate basis, and keeps many from gainful employment. Therefore, his youth job initiative to subsidize up to a million jobs for disadvantaged youth will fall short, à la française. So, it is imperative for millennials and others to ask critical questions, and not just abide by herd mentality.
Even though millennials’ attachment to Bernie Sanders baffles me, I empathize with them. Many have graduated college with large debts, face under-employement, unable to rent or own a house like their parents before them, etc..In addition, they have been indoctrinated by society and the media that praise government intervention in the economy. It is difficult not to fall into this trap. Even many free market thinkers also fell for this vision.
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