National Press Club

Conservative spokesperson says youth hurting under Obama administration

February 26, 2014 | By Joe Sparks |

A spokesperson for the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) said their Youth Misery Index (YMI) indicates that young people, roughly ages 16 through 24, are suffering under President Barack Obama’s administration at a Feb. 25 Newsmnaker.

Ashley Pratte, the program officer-public relations for YAF, which promotes conservative ideas on college campuses, explained the YMI.

The YMI consists of three indicators that are added to calculate the index. The first is the youth unemployment percentage, which was at 16.3 percent in August, 2013.

The next indicator is the average student loan debt for college graduates expressed in thousands of dollars. The average was $29,500, which yields an indicator of 29.5.

Finally, the last indicator is the national debt per capita, $59,200, expressed in thousands of dollars, which yields an indicator of 52.9.

The sum of these in Aug. 2013 works out to be 98.6, which is the highest it has been since 1993, when it was first calculated.

The YMI has increased by about 18 percent under the Obama administration, the largest increase ever. Pratte said that the high YMI and large increase make “Obama the worst president [for] youth economic opportunity, not quite the hope and change that many young people were looking for.”

Pratte stated that, “The promises of free health care and employment after college never came to fruition. Instead millennials are desperately trying to navigate their way though a tough job market while facing a huge sticker shock in purchasing health care through the Obamacare exchanges.”

Pratte attributed the high YMI to the high youth unemployment rate, uncontrolled government spending, and Obamacare, all government policies that can be changed.

Pratte argued that the solution to the high YMI, and the other economic problems facing our country is less government spending, and that, “[r]eal economic reform means real solutions, and this is what conservatives have always been able to deliver.”

When pressed for policy solutions during the question and answer period, Pratt did not provide specific answers.

When asked what can be done about student loan debt, and making college affordable, Pratte said that because of easy access to student loans, college is more affordable than ever. She also said that college is not actually affordable because students cannot afford to pay back their debt.

Pratte was then asked for a solution and said, “I am not a policy maker…I am just going to say that when you make it that easy to accrue debt, it becomes a danger.”

When asked if the government should increase spending for needed projects, such as infrastructure, to increase employment, Pratte said that temporary jobs are not the solution. “There should be more of an emphasis on job creation and job growth rather than growing the federal government.”